Decision Looming On One Trial For Four Suspects In Rapid City Murder

       The 4 people charged in an April homicide in a Rapid City motel say they want to be tried together, but the state wants to try them separately. 

      Tracy Laughlin, Travis Nelson, Gilbert Reyna and William Long all appeared in court last week with their attorneys for arguments on the issue.

      The main issue is statements Laughlin made to police implicating herself and the others. The state argues that to avoid conflict of interest issues, each defendant should be tried separately with Laughlin going first. 

     Reyna’s attorney argued that statements from all the defendants should be dropped and not admitted at trial; which would eliminate any conflicts and allow a joint trial..

       Nelson’s attorney said the law tends to favor jointly-tried cases while Long’s attorney told the judge that since all the defendants were charged together, they should be tried together – adding that  if the cases are severed, Long wants to be tried first.

      The state has until today to file a formal motion to separate the case with each defendant having 2 days after that to file a response.

     Judge Jeffrey Connolly says he will review the roughly eight hours of defendants’ interviews with the police, as well as 20-pages of police narratives before deciding if he’ll sever the cases.

     He’s scheduled to issue his decision Nov 1 with the currently joint trial set to start a week after that on Nov 8

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